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  1. max boswell says

    I note that you seldom comment on other critics’ writings. Thus the new book by Nancy Goldner – reviewed by Alastair Macaulay in the NYT, hasn’t been mentioned. Wld you consider it to be a good reference source for yr readers?
    Apollinaire responds: Oh, I think I’ve written more about other critics’ work than anyone else I know–grouchily usually, which is too bad. I asked for a copy of the Goldner book, but it seems to have gotten lost in the mail, so I can’t tell you what I think.
    I do know that Goldner has been watching Balanchine ballets for a very long time, so I’m sure she has insight into them. On the other hand, what Macaulay quoted did not make her case. Her effusion of ellipses (i.e., …), so she wouldn’t seem to be nailing a meaning to a ballet, suggests that she doesn’t entirely know her own mind or method as a critic. That is, if you’re going to give a reading, as we call an interpretation, then do it. If you think this shouldn’t be done–that dances don’t mean, they just are, to paraphrase some wretched poet whose name is currently escaping me–then do something else. But don’t do the first, then deny it.
    The passages that Macaulay swooned over seemed to me to be very standard-issue readings of the ballets. But that may be Macaulay more than Goldner herself. Sometimes critics feel they ought to like something, but actually don’t, and they betray their real feelings in the passages they quote, etc.
    Thanks so much for writing, Max. Let me know what you think if you do read the book.

  2. max boswell says

    I wish you would read Goldner rather than relying on another reviewer’s citations, while at the same apologizing for doing so. Surely going to the original, the source itself, is an ethical imperative in critical practice.
    I guess you’d need to obtain the book.
    Thanks for yr energetic efforts to cover so many performances!
    Apollinaire responds: yeah, I should read the book. I even want to (hence requesting a copy). I was just trying to give you something, but, yeah, probably should have kept it to “It didn’t sound very promising, but I’d have to see for myself.”

  3. Raphael Xavier says

    Hello there,
    My name is Raphael Xavier and I wanted to ask you a few questions and make a statement about your comment on Companhia Urbana de danca. You mentioned that “only Philadelphia’s Rennie Harris has taken hip hop this far”, I can agree to what you’re saying but there was another company/choreographer in Philadelphia who was/is/has been pushing the envelope for years unlike any other. It’s either a lack of research on your end or a lack of promoting or pushing hard enough on the choreographers end. I would also like to mention that I worked with CUD and influenced them in a major way for their work to look the way it does and I also have been an original member of RHPM. That may be why CUD makes work that you can compare to Rennie Harris’. Sometimes we forget to mention what can ultimately make a difference in a review or career of a dancer/choreographer. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
    [Apollinaire responds]
    Hi, Raphael,
    I’m just getting this now–three weeks later, and as you don’t mention this other company in Philadelphia, I can only say, more power to you. Because I am not paid for travel, what I cover and know is what has come to NY. Also it would be useful if choreographers etc. had some idea of the constraints of writing for a daily print newspaper–that I, for example, have precisely 370 words for these reviews, and not a word over–before they began chiding the critic on not getting into this or that context. I have to pick and choose, quickly and carefully. If you want to send me info on your company, I would love to have it.
    Yours in struggle,

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